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Robert Petrick
Negative Space #10

2013

$1,800

About

Robert Petrick's paintings create a link between the street culture of the East Village, where he has lived for 31 years, and the power of language, which he has worked with his entire life. When painted in the streets, they represent a democratic type of communication. On canvas, they provide a space for more intimate reflection on the marks that increasingly define our world and interactions. Petrick manipulates the semiotics of graffiti writing, stretching and squeezing letters and meaning into asemic shapes. In the aggregation of symbols, piled and stacked on top of each other within the confines of the canvas, one can read the density of the city, a multitude of voices in a confined urban environment. These are not the ordered squiggles of the Keith Haring or the LA2 collaborations; in these works, the raw gestures of written communication are compressed into a chaotic yet elegant jigsaw, flattened of both time and space. They are acts of aggression against order and conformity, reclaiming a landscape made hostile by city planners and the swagger of corporations, advertising firms and domineering architecture, which begs the question: are these simply works art, or do they hint at linguistic warfare? In 1984, Petrick stenciled two designs on walls along Avenue B. Capturing the zeitgeist of the time, EXIST / EXIT and NOWHERE / NOW HERE were photographed and featured in Vogue magazine. The images exemplified graffiti as art rather than graffiti as vandalism, a concept that was gaining international attention after the release of Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style and a number of hit songs and music videos. Today Robert Petrick is a prominent typographer and fine artist based in New York City.

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About the Seller
4.8 / 5
Located in New York, NY
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Established in 2011
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